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The Ascending Voice Returns to the Malibu Campus

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Pepperdine’s triennial international symposium and choral festival of sacred a cappella music returned to the Malibu campus for the third time May 9 to 11. The 2013 event was the third of its kind at Pepperdine University, following two successful events in 2007 and 2010, and drew music lovers and practitioners from around the country as well as abroad.

Characterized by a variety of activities—concerts, workshops, lectures, and worship—the three-day-long symposium offered attendees the chance to experience a variety of sacred music that ranged from classical to contemporary, traditional liturgy to recently composed works, ancient liturgy to gospel and spiritual. Educators from Pepperdine University, Boston University, Valparaiso University, Eastern Mennonite University, Ball State University, and Luther College also taught attendees new selections of “world music,” including works by Native Americans and Africans.

“The conference is exceptional in the way it brings together lovers of music from across the spectrum of Christian denominations,” reflects Darryl Tippens, Pepperdine University provost. “Roman Catholics and Episcopalians sing alongside members of Churches of Christ and evangelicals. I take particular pleasure when attendees discover that what had seemed odd or ‘old school’—a cappella hymnody—turns out to be a powerful, timeless musical form that resonates with human hearts everywhere, from all walks of life and denominational background.”

Following a keynote address from Mike Cope, director of ministry outreach in Pepperdine’s Church Relations office, attendees were treated to lectures and workshop presentations by the world’s leading authorities on this rich style of worship. A daily concert lineup included performances by top collegiate choral groups, including the Chamber Singers of Pepperdine University, inspiring female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock ®, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, as well as renowned choral conductor and clinician Allen R. Hightower of Luther College.

“The Ascending Voice was particularly successful this year, I think, because of the devotion and energy of two of Pepperdine’s most talented professors—Lincoln Hanks and Ryan Board,” says Tippens. “Their vision and leadership were evident in every aspect of the symposium. I look forward to the next Ascending Voice symposium in 2016.”

Listen to performances of a cappella music groups and choirs at The Ascending Voice III.